24 May 2010

LOST – Finale Dinner!

I just started watching LOST (thank you, streaming NetFlix!) this spring.  Yes, I’m often behind the times…

As Sam is a big fan, I decided to make a post-finale LOST dinner for him, featuring my yummy vegetarian chili (recipe below) renamed ‘Smoke Monster Chili’ for the event.  Thanks to printing labels from this site, the tomatoes and beer seemed to originate from the Dharma Initiative itself!

Smoke Monster Chili


  • 2T Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored/seeded/diced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, minced (Taste + check the heat of the jalapeños before adding both.)
  • 1 28oz can tomatoes (low-sodium), chopped + including liquid
  • 1T ground cumin
  • 1-2T chili powder
  • 2t dried oregano (or 2T fresh, chopped)
  • 1t fennel seeds
  • 1 15oz can black beans (low-sodium), drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans (low-sodium), drained and rinsed
  • 3T lemon juice + zest of one lemon
  • 1/2c red wine (remember, if you wouldn’t drink it - don’t cook with it!)
  • 1t sugar
  • 1/3c chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste

Order of Operations 1 In a large stock pot (not kidding - it would make enough to feed 10 Hurleys!), heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 4mins. Add the garlic + cook about a minute more. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, and jalapeños. Cook about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

2 Add the tomatoes with any liquid that may have been in the can. Add oregano, cumin, + fennel seeds. Add chili powder to desired heat. Simmer for 20 minutes over low.

3 Add all of the beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, + cilantro. Add salt + freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer 5 mins.

Serve with any combo of sliced avocados, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, + chopped green onions.

Serves: Hurley, Jack, Kate, Locke, Sayid, Charlie, Sun…you get the idea.

18 May 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Cake inspired by the book by Eric Carle

Created for the Lower School faculty birthday celebration in May.

The fondant was tinted by hand, resulting in a marbled, red color.  All other details were created in fondant as well, covering chopsticks for antennae and then painting toothpicks for the bristles on the caterpillar's back.  This was probably one of my quickest cake-creations, because report cards were due that week!

06 May 2010

Hike, Brew, Feast

After a hike up to Lake Ramona at the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, we headed over to Stone Brewery for a tour...only to realize that a zillion other San Diegans had the same idea. The tour would have to wait for another day, so off to the bar for some macaroni & [beer] cheese and a taste of some fine brews. My favorite from the 30+ unmarked taps: Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, and a bottle of Fox Barrel Cider. With a taste of the Imperial Russian Stout, an epiphany was had...why not create our own mac n' beer n' cheese? Here is the recipe, with Guinness Draught used. Mmmmm!